Backpacking in Western Europe

I have previously posted notes and information on backpacking and travel. This doesn’t fit with the theme of the previous post, so I am seperating them. I’ll probably do this going forward.

A backpack on a chair in a random room.

Backpacking in Western Europe is a little different from elsewhere.  Specifically, how busy it seems all the time. The majority of the people I talk with in hostels are on vacation for a few weeks. I am well into Shoulder Season and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down.  Recently, in Frankfurt, I overheard a backpacker being told there were no beds for that evening.  Perhaps this is because Frankfurt is a hub of employment in Germany and Europe, but AirBnB seems to reflect this activity.

I am finding if I book on AirBnB less that two weeks out, the availablility isn’t there. If there are spaces available they are usually very overpriced.  The same is true for train travel. If I want inexpensive European train prices, I have to book more than two weeks out.

This isn’t a huge hardship for me. I am excellent at planning and enjoy doing so.

It does change the travel experience.

While backpacking in South East Asia, I could just show up at hostels and there would always be a bed.  No booking ahead of time. This led to a much more fluid and spontaneous type of travel. If talking with backpackers, you might hear about some place or thing that is really cool and you can just leave the next day.

In Europe it is more like taking a tour. You have everything laid out for the next few weeks and kind of walk through the travel.  This isn’t better or worse, it’s a different style of travel.